Friday, December 6, 2013

Review of "Nora Roberts Land"

Surprisingly, I've never read a book by Nora Roberts. I HAVE read almost all of the "In Death" series by her alter-ego J.D. Robb.

The fact that Ava Miles mentioned the main characters Eve Dallas and Roarke several times in this book says how much of a true fan she is.

I started reading "Nora Roberts Land" in bed before I went to sleep. I read one chapter and knew I had to put it down because it drew me in right away. I knew I would be having a reading marathon if I kept at it and wouldn't get to bed until the wee hours of the morning.

It turned out I was correct. I started in on the second chapter and read the rest of the 335 page book, and went to bed at 3 a.m.

Not only am I going to read the rest of The Dare Valley series from Ava Miles, which thankfully all published within the last few months, I'll be making a concerted effort to read Nora Roberts' extensive collection of stories that have been enchanting avid fans for over 30 years.

"Nora Roberts Land" starts out as most other romance novels, with a strong woman who is having a crisis and is seeking for resolution. She decides to temporarily move back to her hometown of Dare Valley, Colorado and then the real fun begins!

Then, the book veers off a bit to include the mystery/thriller genre associated with J.D. Robb's books. It's a beautiful combination of all the wonderment and expected turbulence of a romance novel with an added twist to shake things up.

Nora Roberts should feel honored to be a "mentor" of sorts to Ava Miles. I think she did her proud! Anyone who is a fan of a captivating cast of characters, a great storyline that has the ups and downs we all face in life, strong family bonds, and an endearing love story rounds it out.

I look forward to a long and fulfilling "relationship" with Ava Miles, and I am eager to expand my current fandom with Nora Roberts.

Nora Roberts Land
Ava Miles

Published June 24, 2013
Aspendawn Books

Disclaimer: This book was provided to reviewer from the publisher, Aspendawn Books through NetGalley for the sole purpose of reading and review.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Review of Leverage Your Laziness

For those of us who KNOW we are lazy, this book will still come as a surprise because it gives you a great formula to help you discover more about yourself and provides some simple tools that will help you to do what you love...all the time!

It's also a quick read. I finished it in about 3 hours which included some thinking, reflection and pondering on the questions asked by the authors.

And for those of us who KNOW we are lazy - the content doesn't go around in circles, spouting the same tiresome dribble that we've heard in so many other personal growth tomes.

It's the perfect mixture of inspiring quotes, sound advice, cheeky humor and self discovery...all rolled into just 67 pages!

I still took 3 pages of notes, including a few self discovery, assessment questions...yes, you DO have to do a little work...but I promise it will give you insight into how you can truly be lazy...doing the things you love!

I recommend Leverage Your Laziness to anyone who doesn't want to get stuck doing something they hate, are not good at or do not have fun doing - or, if you are in that prediciment now. Teenagers and Geriatrics alike will get something useful and possibly life-changing in just a few hours!

Leverage Your Laziness
Jeff Goldberg & Steve Bookbinder

Published June 1, 2013
Sound Wisdom

Disclaimer: This book was provided to reviewer from the publisher, Sound Wisdom through NetGalley for the sole purpose of reading and review.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Living Death

Another oldie I wrote and recently ripped the page out of an old notebook...from 12/1/2002.

I'm typing & posting right away without any fear of what it says because I have no idea.


Frail, old, weak, peaceful. Letting go of time, space & light. Go to the white light, but it's not time yet - there is still so much to do - so much more love to give and share. Breathe. Slow & steady - slowing down - peaceful. Pain - not much, but some. Mostly peace - remembering - longing to do it over - to be in those special moments one more time. No regrets - all mental strain is gone - just peace. Steady, slow - peaceful. Relax - see the spirits - go to your loved ones from them - love - peace - completion. The circle is complete, time to release and be reborn - the soul will live on and be reborn - more, new, different experiences. Sleepy - very tired - lazy - peaceful. Slow tears, a few drops - missing those I leave behind, but knowing that my spirit will be able to be with them and my light & love will surround them always. Light - peace - completion - breathe - slow, steady, slower, eyes closed - breathe - light - inner - go to the light - breathe. Dark.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Review - Throw a True Blood Party: An Unofficial Guide to Partying with Your Favorite Vamps

It's appropo today, of all days, that I decided to finally write the Blog post on this book.

It's fun! Why wouldn't it be? True Blood is fun.

Charlaine Harris' Sookie Stackhouse series was fun, but really ran out of steam by the end of the series and many people were disappointed with the ending.

The HBO series True Blood is fun...but has gone off the deep end from the original premise and has some really whacky plot twists and storylines.

Still...they are addicting....just like they are supposed to be. And, they are escapism in its truest form.

The ideas, the concepts, the tchockis, the costuming...everything in Throw a True Blood Party: An Unofficial Guide to Partying with Your Favorite Vamps will help you throw a bash that has all the undertones, and over-the-top tones for a night full of laughter and mayhem!

The only downside of having the products in the book is that there were coupons attached to several of them...but the majority of them expire at the end of 2013.

But, the Holidays are coming up & this would be a great gift for any friend or family member who is even the slightest bit obsessed with the books or show, throwing theme parties, or like an interesting array of books for their shelves and coffee tables.

Why...because it's FUN!

Happy Halloween!

Throw a True Blood Party: An Unofficial Guide to Partying with Your Favorite Vamps
Paula Conway

Published June 13th 2013
Riverdale Avenue Books
Disclaimer: This book was provided to reviewer from the publisher, Riverdale Avenue Books through NetGalley for the sole purpose of reading and review.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Review of My Brief History by Stephen Hawking

I had heard of Stephen Hawking, just the name, but really didn’t know who he was and his remarkable path and contributions until I started watching “The Big Bang Theory”.  See! The “Boob Tube” does have some redeeming qualities!

I didn’t even know his condition is Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (aka ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease). He mentions his condition throughout the 75-page.
The book is truly a “brief” history of Stephen Hawking’s life, but encompassing a life lived and full of love, fun, humor, self-deprecation, honesty, determination, genius, bravery, science, questions, answers, accomplishments, inspiration, black holes, quantum gravity and the universe.
It’s simply written…for the most part except when he goes off explaining some of his research and theories in depth. I just read through those parts a few times, trying to understand an overview of the subject matter and Hawking does a great job of presenting these highly technical concepts to the general public.
The brilliant thing about Stephen Hawking’s work and life, is that even without this condition he would still have made the contributions he has to the world of science and physics, BUT because of the disease and his public persona, he shows the world how it’s possible to overcome limitations and what seems like insurmountable obstacles and come out the better for it – all the while inspiring others and contributing to both the scientific community as well as the “general public”.
More than once on “The Big Bang Theory”, Howard has done his impression of Stephen Hawking’s electronically produced voice. The fact that the man has been on the show in person, has been mentioned several times, as well as was in one episode playing “Words with Friends” with Sheldon shows us that he has an immeasurable capacity to find the humor in the hand he’s been dealt.
He explains the process he went through and the rewrites he undertook when writing the bestseller, "A Brief History of Time” which presented complex physical concepts, but made them accessible to the general public. I can’t wait to read it!
Even though the book is literally “brief”, it is overflowing with a plethora of a rich, full and amazing life and I pray he continues to contribute and inspire for a long time yet to come…because there is no such hope as time travel.  ;)

My Brief History
Stephen Hawking

Publication Date: September 10, 2013

Disclaimer: This book was provided to reviewer from the publisher, Random House Publishing Group – Bantam Dell through NetGalley for the sole purpose of reading and review.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Diving In...

I tore out some pages from an old Notebook. I do not know when this was written, but the page after it is dated 12/1/2002...I've transcribed directly from the written page. Apparently I wrote from a flow of consciousness & in the moment because there are not line or paragraph breaks.

Tear - A tear is something that comes from the heart - it has 2 meanings - to break and also a release. When I cry, I'm usually releasing something - guilt, guilt, anger, anger, anger, upset, angry, overflow with emotions because everything gers caught up inside and sometimes I just need to let it all go. I really like meditation and yoga classes because they are a release of stress, anger, sadness, happiness - all sorts of emotions come to the surface and I usually shed some tears - of happiness, joy, sadness, lonliness, longing, fun, endurance, stress. Tearing somthing up can be a release a also. To let go of something, to destroy so something can be created again - anew.Release sadness, lonliness, happiness - breaking my heart because it is so full and I want to give so much to someone - I'm tired of being lonely. Crying tears of sorrow.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Review of What's So Funny?: My Hilarious Life

Tim Conway is one of the funniest people to even grace us with his gifts.

In What's So Funny?: My Hilarious Life we are taken on a short breeze of a ride and learn a bit about Tim’s colorful parents, some outrageous stunts while growing up in Ohio, his stint in the military and enjoy a few stories and anecdotes of his professional career…thus far.
There are a few surprises along the way. For one thing, his real name isn’t Tim… ;)

I was genuinely disappointed because it was so short. I would have no problem reading a 400 page tome written by this man. I know I would be laugh until my sides hurt and I couldn’t keep the tears from rolling down my face.
Personally, I think entire books should be written by the players of wonderful shows and movies some of us have had the privilege to watch and be entertained by and loved. Because unfortunately, a lot of these wonderfully talented people have left this world and we won’t see the likes of them again. It’s a blessing that we have the technology to see them in action on DVDs, Internet Video, and TV stations dedicated to reruns of the unforgettable programs my parents grew up enjoying, and I was able to enjoy in my childhood.

He also only added a few stories and anecdotes about his kids & his wives which I really wanted to know about, but he left them out of the book in deference to their private lives which is commendable.
He’s a memorable character creator, and can throw a line without cracking a smile (although those of us who have ever watched him play off of Harvey Korman know that everyone around him breaks down first), and doesn’t mind playing “second fiddle”.

Even if you aren’t a reader of biographies and auto-biographies, I highly recommend this book to anyone who has ever seen Tim Conway on lovable shows and movies like, “McHales Navy”, “The Carol Burnett Show”, and “The Apple Dumpling Gang” movies.  And for those who haven’t been as fortunate yet – look them up, watch & laugh!
Only then will you know the brilliance that is Tim Conway and want to read about how he got to be the hilarious “straight” man we know & love him to be!

What's So Funny?: My Hilarious Life
Tim Conway, Jane Scovell (With), Carol Burnett (Forward)

Howard Books
Publication Date: October 29, 2013

Disclaimer: This book was provided to reviewer from the publisher, Howard Books through NetGalley for the sole purpose of reading and review.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Rose Harbor in Bloom – Review

Rose Harbor in Bloom is the first Debbie Macomber book I’ve ever read…I do not know why.  

Even though this is the second book in the series, Ms. Macomber gives us enough of a glimpse into Jo Marie Rose’s background that you can get into the characters and the story right off the bat – even if you haven’t read the first installment. That is not always the case with series books.
The Inn itself is a character. It has its own place in the storyline, I see the entire Rose Harbor Inn as a quiet corner window seat with plenty of light, comfy cushions and warmth – wrapping its arms around you - a place of beauty, contemplation and healing.

I can visualize the characters and their stories as being real – not just characters made up in a piece of fiction. And, even though these characters visit the Inn and their storylines become the main focus of the book that is built around the ongoing story of Jo Marie and the citizens of Cedar Cove, once these characters leave the Inn their stories are well-rounded enough and come to an end at the conclusion of the book so you don’t feel cheated, but their conclusions are also new beginnings and you are invested in these characters enough that you want the book to be longer and branch off and pick up on the storylines so you can see what the future holds for them – hopefully, we’ll get a snippet or 2 in future books.
I am definitely going to find the first book in the series, TheInn at Rose Harbor, as well as make sure other Debbie Macomber cooks are on my “To Look for List” when I’m out & about.

Rose Harbor in Bloom by Debbie Macomber

Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine
Publication Date: Aug 13 2013

Disclaimer:This book was provided to reviewer from the publisher, Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine through NetGalley for the sole purpose of reading and review.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Review of Lowcountry Bombshell (A Liz Talbot Mystery, #2)

I was fortunate enough to win a free copy of Susan M. Boyer’s first Liz Talbot Mystery, Lowcountry Boil last year from Goodreads. This year I am a member of NetGalley and have had the privilege of receiving an electronic copy of Ms. Boyer’s latest Liz Talbot Mystery, Lowcountry Bombshell for the specific purpose of reading and reviewing on my Blog, Living Life by the Seat of Your Pants.

These mysteries are like so many others that I have read lately, and have become a favorite distraction of mine. They are light, fun, set in small towns that are full of quirky, and also dangerous characters – a great, short time distraction for all that ails us in our stressful, hectic everyday lives.
In Lowcountry Bombshell, Private Eye Liz Talbot has recently moved back to the North Carolina Island town of her birth, Stella Maris. Her new client is the doppelganger of a certain 1950’s Blond starlet who died too early surrounding mysterious circumstances that to this day still baffle us.

Coming upon the 50th anniversary of said starlets’ death, Liz’s client, whose life has run a close parallel to the Blond Bombshell – at the beginning we don’t know if it was patented that way or fabricated, hires Liz to “…keep me alive.”

I do like how Ms. Boyer gets right into the flow of the issues – starting with the first chapter – right off the bat. The story is full of twists and turns, touches on crazy family members and unsavory characters, murder, attempted murder, and even a bit of romance and rivalry.
Unlike her counterparts in this genre, such as Janet Evanovich, Lorna Barrett, Joanne Fluke, and even Charlaine Harris (her lesser know characters – Harper Connelly, Lily Bard and Aurora Teagarden), I’m hoping Ms. Boyer presents more scenes and background on the quirky cast of characters of Stella Maris in future books.  

I look forward to reading more of Liz Talbot’s adventures for many years to come!

Lowcountry Bombshell (A Liz Talbot Mystery, #2)

Henery Press
Publication Date: September 3, 2013

This book was provided to reviewer from the publisher, Henery Press through
for the sole purpose of reading and review.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Home Is Where the Heart Is...

I haven’t lived in Massachusetts for almost 19 years. Yet, as I sit in my parent’s kitchen I know that this is home and always will be…even if they are the ones to move.

I still tell people when I leave San Diego to come to Mass that, “I’m going home.” Whether it’s for a week, a month or longer – time does not matter.
It’s possible that I may never come back to live….or, I could, who knows? I don’t.

Mom asks me every time I get laid off (which for those of you who know my track record, is about every 3 years), “So, are you moving back?”
This time, I told her I’m waiting for divine intervention, whether it’s for a job or just because it’s time for me to leave SoCal…or stay in California. I don’t know. And that’s okay with me…for now.

Massachusetts is where the highest concentration of my family is, even though some have left – to Texas, New Hampshire, Florida, New Jersey, North Carolina, Virginia, New York, California, and others have never lived here – Hawaii, Pennsylvania, Maryland, this is still Home - to me.
People ask me why I moved to San Diego and I tell them the story of how my Mom’s best friends’ daughter who used to babysit me and who we’ve known since I was four (basically my big sister), was living in San Diego and she tried to urge me to come out there – maybe go to college there. I didn’t.

But when I was in my “first real job” after college for about a year, I finally made my flight plans in April to go to San Diego in June, and the next the day there was a reorganization at my work and I could have been laid off, but they kept me on until June and then laid me off – so I took it as a sign that maybe it was time to venture out into the world - divine intervention mingled with me making a choice.

So, I went to San Diego for a few weeks, came back & in September drove with “big sis”. Figured I’d be there for a year or two…Alas, it’s been almost 19 years.  Talk about time flying!
I have never had tons and tons of friends (although you wouldn’t know it by my 1050+ Facebook friends ;D ) – but Social Media has done wonders for connecting with old friends, family, business associates, classmates who weren’t so friendly (but I guess time and maturity heals those wounds), family you’ve never met, and starting relationships and maintaining them with new people you meet.

Now, I have connected with people and when I’m home I try to see them, and when I’m 3,000 miles away I miss them but can still stay in touch.  It’s very amusing when I think of it, that if I chose to move back I will have a larger group of friends to see and hang out with than when I left!

So I sit in my parent’s kitchen - watch Dad eat lunch and read a book, wait for Mom to come home from the grocery store, anticipate seeing my sister and cousin tonight, and hope to see my adorable niece, and brother and sister-in-law again before I leave, I finish this post and think about moving back and what that would bring. I still have no idea one way or another, and am waiting for divine intervention to step in and pinch me – with me having the choice. But, I’m glad that for right now - I Am Home.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Land of the Free and Home of the Brave

I am truly and utterly blessed to have been born and raised in the United States of America. And as we have just celebrated the 237th Birthday of our grand nation – I am even more blessed to be an American WOMAN.

We all have our own personal problems, and as we are going through whatever it is, it seems to be the most important thing in the…and at the time – it is. Our friends and families get sick, people we know and love die, pregnant women miscarry or a parents’ child is lost far too early, women and children are violated and abused, people murder each other, tragedies & inexplicable horrors happen – and we hear about it far too much and far too quickly – no matter how distant from our own “little world” it is.
BUT, if you are an American, you are born (or should be) – FREE to become whoever you are meant to be. I know there are things that prevent every American, Hell, every person on this Earth from rising to and even above their potential. As someone recently reminded me…everyone has potential – no matter what the area.

It’s true that women weren’t allowed the inalienable right to vote until 1922…it took quite a long time, BUT eventually the right we were born as Americans to have – came.

There are, however, some wrongs that still need to be righted…the majority of the time we don’t earn as much as our male counterparts, the leaders – in both business, as well as political are not women, and we get dinged for taking off time to have children (and yet if we didn’t, the population would eventually die out).

And most of that is because of how it was at the time of our nation’s birth. Women took care of the household, the children, cooking, etc.   BUT some of them also worked the land…in addition to all those “womanly duties” and this is how it’s been for the most part, in most places – since time began.

My 10 year old cousin says she wants to be the President of the United States. If she sticks to this path, and since she won’t be able to be for another 25 years, I really hope she isn’t the first Madame President. And, as an American female, in 2013 – this option is available to her should she continue on this road to reach her highest potential.

But at the end of the day…I am a free American and I can do whatever I want to within the laws as set forth by the individual state and local governments, as well as the federal government of the United States of America. I don’t have to cover my hair, my face or the bulk of my body. I do not have to walk with anyone or behind someone. I can read what I like, watch what I wish to, and eat what I can make or afford to buy.

I am proud, honored and eternally grateful to be an American Woman – Thank God I was born in the Land of the Free and Home of the Brave! Hallelujah!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Heavy Head. Heavy Heart.

My head is very heavy. There’s this pressure right in the center and it feels like the rest of my head is floaty and being squeezed in a vice – all at the same time. And, it’s folding in on itself. I’m not sure if it’s my sinuses acting up, or all these random thoughts that pop in & out of my head - what seems like every nanosecond.

Sometimes I can just let it leave my mind – float away as if on a cloud. At other times, I know the thought path I’m headed down is a treacherous road to take and the thoughts seem to linger and fester until whatever I’m thinking about turns obsessive and consumes me, and I have to forcefully and with great effort push it out and dust my brain off-again. What a vicious circle in the web of life.

It could be my sinuses or the heat at Lestat’s on Park. The place is open and spacious & I’m always cold in coffee houses and cafes. Not sure what the hell is going on here. It’s funny because I was trying to concentrate on writing the Blog post I was ghost-writing and all the while getting a little aggravated with each new noise going on around me – the banging of the espresso machine filter, people talking, the slamming of the screen door (why can’t they just close it slowly & quietly?). Of course I could have stayed at home – but I just knew I needed to get out of the house to be productive today.

It could be that I was stressing out over ghost-writing the blog post – which I should have completed and sent last week, but I forgot most of the week and when I finally remembered, I couldn’t get motivated or clear my head enough to concentrate and get down to it. Even though my head doesn’t feel clear I got down to it, finished and submitted.
Last week I had some nails that were progressing very nicely. This week – they are all gone.  They all cracked on the edges and broke – like they always do. I guess that is good – I’m starting over, again, from scratch. Or, is it just a rehash of what happened the last time my fingernails grew...and eventually broke off? Like I said earlier - vicious circle; web of life.

I’m trying to look at this as it is – yet another opportunity for my fingernails to grow – that is the only expectation and pre-conceived notion I have on the matter. Otherwise the slate is empty.

Unfortunately, even though we want to think that our slate is crisp and clean, all shiny and new - it really isn’t. All our past experiences – good and bad – have formed the shape that is each of us today – now.  

People tell me I should take this time I have to write the book that I mentioned in my first blog post, but I can’t even seem to get motivated and write my blog posts with any regularity – so this may not be the time.

I really have no fear which is funny to me, because that is usually what stops me in my tracks. Fear of failure. Not so much this time. It’s because I have absolutely no expectations or preconceived notions at this time in the “project” – no plans. I’m just going to approach it like almost everything else – by the seat of my pants.

It’s funny because I know the ideas are there – I wrote down a bunch of possible chapters & categories years ago. I’m just feeling so stifled, bogged down and boxed in by my own heavy-headedness and repeated thoughts – most of the same thoughts I had yesterday, and the day before.

Apparently we each have 12,000 to 60,000 thoughts a day – of those, 90 percent are about our own needs, wants and concerns, 80 percent are negative, and according to research about 98 percent are the same thoughts we had the day before.

It’s no wonder I’m feeling sluggish and my head feels like it is being squeezed – too many rehashed, negative thoughts that apparently have not been resolved yet, and…I’m mainly thinking about myself! Talk about self-involved! Of course writing a personal blog is touched with a wee bit of narcissism.

Maybe I should do a purging – of the mind, heart and spirit. Actions speak louder than words…except when the action is writing down the words.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Review: The Lucky Lady Anne of Cleves - Henry's Fouth Wife

I recommend this book to anyone who has a yearning to learn more about the Tudor Dynasty, and this extraordinary woman who, through no fault of her own, took the role and circumstances in which she found herself cast in and made the most of her life.

The Olde English in messages throughout the book were most likely excerpts from actual historical documents combined with the more modern simplistic conversational dialogue throughout the work made it easier to read, understand, process, and enjoy the story.

Sometimes you can get so wrapped up in the language in pieces from this time period and deciphering the meaning of dialogue can be frustrating and discouraging in written works - Shakespeare for instance if you are reading it vs. seeing the plays performed – that you give up or put the piece of work down.

’m fairly new to learning about the Tudor dynasty history. Apart from watching a few movies over the past few several years, a book or 2, and watching the TV series, “The Tudors”, my knowledge is limited other than the basics that practically everyone knows about Henry XIII, his wives, how he “disposed” of them, the religious struggles, his children and basics of the Tudor dynasty.

The book portrays the growth of Anne as a simple and naive, yet intelligent young lady, who due to circumstances beyond her control, took the conditions in which she found herself in and with grace, humility and dignity – strived in the uncertain times and situation.
Even though she lived a short time and was The Queen of England for what seems like a split-second, compared to the fates of Henry VIII’s other wives, I would conclude that Lady Anne of Cleves, was indeed, the luckiest of them all.
The Lucky Lady Anne of Cleves - Henry's Fouth Wife

David Lawrence-Young
GMTA (Great Minds Think Aloud) Publishers
Published April 2013

This book was provided to reviewer from the author directly after a request for another book
NetGalley for the sole purpose of reading and review.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Review of Marilyn: Norma Jeane

I am so happy that I was able have the opportunity to read and review this electronic version of the 1988 book. I will definitely take a look at the original publication to view all the photos more closely.

I’m fairly new to requesting, reading and reviewing books from NetGalley that I almost missed this one! I didn’t realize until last week that I’m only allotted less than 2 months to read these books that the publishers so graciously trust me with before they go “Poof” from my Nook.
It’s a good thing that it’s a fairly short book and I was able to read it in its entirety today.

Gloria Steinem has compiled a compelling overview of the life of Marilyn Monroe (and Norma Jeane) that is part biography, part psychological profile, part picture book, part history, part feminist study, part speculation – all wrapped around very natural pictures of Marilyn Monroe, not long before her death in August 1962.
It cleverly seesaws back and forth between Norma Jeane and her ascent to become, and be, Marilyn Monroe. Filled with quotes from Marilyn herself, along with historical facts, hearsay, and other nuggets depicted in other publications – we are able to see her sparkling star power – an effervescence that from all accounts shines through.

 She was a gentle spirit, craving love and stability – a little girl lost who unfortunately didn’t find her way in time. She constantly craved a solid, steady mother-figure in the women she surrounded herself with and a father-figure in the men who she met, loved, and married. But the isolation, loneliness, and neediness of this child-woman caught up with her and she was taken away too soon.
It’s uncanny to me reading this, the little tidbits Marilyn Monroe/Norma Jeane and I have in common.

  • We both have a physical body developed too fast.
  • I share her eagerness to read, learn and grow.
  • One of her heroes was Abraham Lincoln. She wrote an essay and I wrote a book report – both in Junior High.

“With enough self-knowledge to recognize her own behavior, but not enough self-confidence to change it,” Ms. Steinem writes before quoting Marilyn herself (pg. 110). WOW! I can relate to that!
Steinem writes pieces about Norma Jeane, about Marilyn and then as many of the information throughout the book suggests – as both halves of the same person intermingled and one fighting the other that always seems to be fighting to be kept at bay.

Her insecurities are always there – I can tell from what I do know and what I’ve read in this book that she was in a constant struggle to keep the demons of her past out of her head, her need and constant craving to be loved and wanted, her thirst for knowledge and not to be seen as she was in many of her movies as the sexpot, dumb blonde.
Just when I was wondering what would have happened, had she lived longer and not died in such a theatrical way with all the mystery, conspiracy theories and speculation surrounding her untimely demise, I go a few pages further and that’s what the last chapter is about (although it was originally published in the late-80s when she’d be in her 60s).

Would she have made it as an aging actress at a time when aging actresses weren’t revered and their talents weren’t acknowledged as they are more today?
Would she have been able to make it in more serious roles, or as a character actress?

Would she still be a legend or would Marilyn Monroe just fade into the darkness and been a has-been?
We’ll never know. So, we’re left with the films and pictures of this pretty brunette, who became a platinum blonde icon with her sexy walk and husky voice – forever implanted in our minds.

I’ve only seen, “The Seven Year Itch” and “Some Like It Hot” – I will be expanding on that list and I look forward to reading more on Marilyn/Norma Jeane. Thanks for the glimpse Ms. Steinem!

By Gloria Steinem
Photographs by George Barris
Open Road Integrated Media
Published March 2013
Original Publication 1988

This book was provided to reviewer from the publisher,
Open Road Integrated Media through
NetGalley for the sole purpose of reading and review.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Anatomy of a Love Story







First Time,








Only You,

Dream come true,
I Love You,
Happily ever after,
All my Love, all my Life.

Copyright 2013
Laurie J. Bokuniewicz

Monday, April 8, 2013

Review: Fine Cooking Comfort Food: 200 Delicious Recipes for Soul-Warming Meals

I love to cook comfort food. I think that is my "Genre" when I cook. My cooking personality is right in line with my Zodiac sign - Taurus.

I crave comfort, security and stability (although I've given up on this in the career sector of my life because if I didn't I would have gone completely crazy by now).

But getting back to the subject at hand...

Fine Cooking Comfort Food by Fine Cooking Magazine is a book that has an abundance of classic comfort good recipes (Beef Stew with Root Vegetables, pg. 48; Turkey Noodle Casserole, pg. 91; and Classic Scalloped Potatoes, pg. 208), basic cooking tips & secrets (How to Make the Perfect Omelet, pg. 163; How to Ice a Cake, pg. 231), as well as twists on the "standards" (Apple Crisp with Pecans and Orange, pg. 233; Turkey Soup with Dill, Parsley and Chive Dumplings; and Braised Beef Short Ribs with Salsa Verde and Feta, pg. 120).

When I thought of the perfect comfort pasta dish, I turned to the first page of the section and what did I find...Baked Macaroni & Cheese! I made it, shared it and it's was a hit so I'll be making again and again! Then, the next 4 recipes consist of variations on the classic - Pulled-Pork Macaroni & Cheese with Caramelized Onions and Four Cheeses, pg. 78; Tex-Mex Macaroni & Cheese with Green Chiles, pg. 79; Quick Skillet Mac and Cheese, pg. 80; and Shells with Gorgonzola, pg. 81).

Even in an electronic format, the bounty of pictures portrayed the simple, colorful, crisp elegance of comfort food - making your mouth water and your tummy growl.

I think this is a great first cookbook! I'm looking forward to making a purchase and giving it as a housewarming gift for the next friend's kid or one of my cousins who moves into their first "grown-up" pad -  there are 17 of us on one side ages 23 - 46, plus my cousins' kids who range from 1 month to 23!

I make my own Cream of Broccoli Soup, and of course I forget to write it down so it never comes out the same way twice! The last few times it hasn't been as good as previous attempts. So, I'm looking forward to trying the Broccoli Soup with Bacon, pg. 10 recipe from this book.

Even though it's April and I live in SoCal, it's still a little chilly at night, so I'll be making "Classic Grilled Cheese" (pg. 186), and paring it with, what else, but "Classic Tomato Soup" (pg. 4)!


Fine Cooking Magazine
The Taunton Press, Inc.
Publication Date: Nov 8 2011

This book was provided to reviewer from the publisher, The Taunton Press, Inc., through
NetGalley for the sole purpose of reading and review.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

How Will I Know?

Will I know when you come around, that you’re the one I’ve been longing to find?

Will I know when I look in your eyes, that you’re the one I’ll be with the rest of my life?

Will I know when you kiss me goodnight, that you’re the one who should be holding me tight?

It seems as though I’m drifting through time, searching for the one I’m dreamed I’d never find.

Will I know when I’m standing by your side, that you’re the one I’ll be loving for the rest of my life?

When I find you I believe I will know, that you’re the one I’ve needed with all my heart and soul.

©Laurie J. Bokuniewicz
12:56 a.m. – 1:06 a.m.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Review: The Spark: A Mother's Story of Nurturing Genius

I don’t have children, but I think Kristine Barnett has the right idea – nurture a child’s excellence in any area they gravitate to.
A big part of nurturing is being aware of the talents a child possesses and also keeping a conscientious eye out for talents because they are not always prevalent and out in the open.
I know there are certain standards that the public education system has to adhere to, and with not enough teachers and overcrowding in classrooms – it’s hard for a teacher to have the capacity to really see each student as an individual and to find that one thing about each child that makes you think, “There it is!” and then to be able to nurture it. It’s even more difficult when that child appears to be stuck in their own little world as often seems the case with autism.
This is where we, as parents, friends, relatives, clergy, and all other adults who work with and interact with children – even if it’s not on a fairly regular basis have to take a stand. It’s our responsibility to nurture children and to guide them, to help them build confidence instead of pointing out what is wrong or lacking, or what a child cannot do or is struggling with and to instead, help them grow and nurture areas where they excel.
Midway through the chapter, A Chance to Play, there was a story of one of the girls that Kristine had in her daycare and her Dad was having a very hard time – Kristine’s solution was to tell him to take care of his senses. She told him on his way home to buy a chicken, along with rosemary and sage, wrap himself in a warm blanket, put on music he loves and look at a family album – he needed to reconnect with his senses. It made me cry. It was also funny at the time I was reading it because all I could smell was skunk…I figured our neighborhood skunk gave a hearty spray recently.
I had just made chicken soup a few days ago and the warmth and the comfort of sitting on my couch, wrapped in my blanket and reading this incredible story by this caring and nurturing woman – these stories of the love and giving of herself to her children and her community – just made me warm all over and filled me up so much that it came out in tears because it had nowhere else to go. 
The overall values of the book are – play, be of service to others, let children help and do simple chores even at a young age, be open to see a child’s talents and nurture them!
Along with running a daycare, Kristine created an early evening program for local kids with autism called Little Light. That led to the creation of Youth Sports for Autism and eventually, Jacob’s Place.
One of the ways Jake is able to be social and at ease with people despite his autism is by playing sports, by playing sports, these incredible children worked at, “prioritizing friendship, social interaction, community, teamwork, and self-esteem.”
This story is a family’s story – of the struggle of having an autistic child…and in turn, a genius to boot!
But, it’s not just Jacob’s story, but the story of the Barnett family as a unit, and a mother’s wish to be able to communicate with her child. She adds a little salting of her family history and the grounding in that family’s faith and charity that formed her and her husband into the giving, loving, and selfless people who strive to help others and in the end, help themselves and their family.
Because of this and taking some chances that would seem to some unorthodox, Kristine and Mike Barnett made choices and followed the true path of Jake’s potential in math and physics to go to college at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, at the age of eleven!
The intermingling of stories and examples throughout the book added to its brilliancy. It is refreshing to find examples of not just the author’s children and family, but of other families that helped keep the book well-rounded and helped fully tell this triumphant story.
I highly recommend The Spark: A Mother's Story of Nurturing Genius by Kristine Barnett to all adults who have children in their lives, their own or others – who will benefit from this inspirational story of overcoming obstacles and discovering that magic, even in adversity is possible.
Random House Publishing Group
Publication Date: Apr 9 2013
Pre-publication of the book was provided to reviewer from the publisher, Random House Publishing Group, through
NetGalley for the sole purpose of reading and review.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Reading is FUNdamental

In the first post of Living Life by the Seat of Your Pants I thanked several female authors, “for writing women with true, powerful qualities like intelligence, humor, sexiness, confidence, silliness, passion, sympathy, boldness, strength & compassion.” (I can’t believe I just quoted myself).

In the past few months I’ve been engrossed reading Joanne Fluke’s - Hannah Swensen Mysteries (with recipes included!), as well as J.D. Robb’s In Death series.

I also joined Goodreads - the largest site for readers and book recommendations in the world. It’s a great site that has helped me keep everything book-related in one place, create an inventory so I can see, with a quick check on my phone app, the books I own so I don’t buy duplicates during my forays into thrift stores and discount bookstores. My books are all in one place, organized by category and I can keep track of what I have read and am currently reading, as well as rate the books & write recommendations. And, I’ve also won a handful of books in their giveaways! I have exported my “library” to create a main list and location schematic of where these books are located within all the stuff that is mine.

Through my use of Goodreads and because I write a Blog, am an avid reader, and since my career is in Marketing and PR, I have been given the opportunity to join NetGalley - an innovative and easy-to-use online service and connection point for book publishers, reviewers, media, librarians, booksellers, bloggers and educators.

I have made a commitment to myself and to these publishers who so graciously entrust me with reading and giving my opinion on books by their authors that interspersed with “personal” posts of Living Life by the Seat of Your Pants I will be posting reviews of books as well.

I am so glad that I rediscovered the joys of reading books.  I wish everyone would take more advantage of this wonderful gift. I hope you will join me in this quest!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

STILL Living Life by the Seat of My Pants

So a year ago on March 8, 2012 I published the first post of Living Life by the Seat of Your Pants.

For some reason I thought I published it a year ago today so that is why this is later than I had originally planned – a heavy undertaking for someone who doesn’t plan well…or in some cases, at all.
So what has transpired in the life of someone who continues to live her life by the seat of her pants?

·         I’m a year old and I’d like to think a little bit wiser

·         I’ve had my convertible car that I continue to enjoy but that definitely needs some work on – for 10 years!

·         I’m still single and haven’t had a date in what seems like forever

·         I have a beautiful, smiley, adorable Niece who I cannot wait to see again!

·         I had my hair cut into a Pixie and colored Auburn

·         I was temporarily laid off on March 1st

·         I currently own about 615 actual books

·         I have about 400 on my Nook

·         I’m still overweight

·         I still live in my cute cottage

·         I still smoke

·         I still own too much stuff

·         I still enjoy the beautiful weather in SoCal

·         And, I’ve kept up with this crazy undertaking of writing a Blog

A year later, not much has changed, but things can only if I chose to be conscious of what I’d like to change and take action to turn those changes into my reality.

Of course there are things that are beyond our control, but as I see it, you have to roll with the punches, give thanks for all you have, show gratitude and charity, and be open to all the possibilities this world and life has to offer you.

I’d like to thank everyone who has shown their support – whether it be with your comments, sharing my blog with your friends, or just your good wishes. It is very much appreciated.
So - Stay tuned. There’s more to come in this adventure that you’ve chosen to join me on.